Several United Nations organizations are warning that the Gaza Strip is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster as a result of the Israeli closure and isolation to the Gaza Strip leaving the people without money and food.
David Shearer, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry that if Israel does not alter its policies, Gaza will face a humanitarian crisis as bad as the one in Kosovo.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned that the lack of basic food supplies caused by the Israeli frequent closures to the Karni crossing is increasing the number of hungry people especially since the financial aid to the Palestinian Authority was halted after the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, won the legislative elections.
According to statistics of the World Bank, if there is no real change in the situation in the Gaza Strip 75% of the residents will be below the poverty line within two years.
Currently, 56% of the Palestinians are below the poverty line compared to 22% in 2000.
Meanwhile, an Israeli security official reported that Israel is aware of these difficulties the Palestinians are facing, and that it is trying to “find solutions without violating the decision not to be in contact with the Hamas-led government.
The official added that Israel will maintain a certain amount of contact with the Palestinian security devices should the situation continue.
Over the last two months, Israel has been withholding the transfer of NIS 2000 million in tax revenue that should have been transferred to the P.A. The measure was taken by Israel in protest to the Hamas-led government.
Also, the United States and other donor countries froze financial payments the reached $45 million.
Officials of the UNRWA expressed concerns that PA employees have not received their salaries this months as a result of the Israeli policy of withholding tax money. The UNRWA estimates that 37% of the employees in the Gaza Strip (more than 73.000 residents) work for the Palestinian Authority.
Karen Abu Zayd, UNRWA commissioner-general told the Israeli online daily Haaretz that if the PA workers stop receiving their salaries, the UN organization will have a hard time coping with even the most basic needs of refugees.
Abu Zayd expects 25,000 families will be added to the food distribution list and added UNRWA is lacking nearly $120 million of the $457.9 million it needs to fund basic needs.
Abu Zayd also stated that the UNRWA only received $14.3 million out of the $150 million needed for projects, such as building schools.
The Palestinians are also facing a public health problem, the UNRWA reported, some 850,000 fowl are suspected of having contracted bird flu; donor countries have yet to transfer in full the money allocated to fight the virus.